Partnership demonstrates excellent teamwork

21st October 2022

Sussex breaking down barriers pic awards 2022

The partnership between the Charity Say aphasia and the Community Neuro Rehabilitation team at Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCFT) is one that is volunteer led. It is founded on peer support and has resulted in the following outcomes.

Family members:

  • Support and time out for partners
  • A chance for relatives to see they are doing a good job
  • Hope and encouragement for the future Befrienders and Befriended
  • Increased opportunity for conversation and friendship
  • Increased sense of purpose and pride in having a meaningful activity
  • Increased confidence and self-esteem from giving and receiving
  • Learning new skills Improving communication

Service Providers

  • Increased number of people with aphasia taking control of their own recovery, gaining skills and confidence in developing services and influencing change by helping to develop effective long-term services.
  • Additional service option to offer ‘beyond rehabilitation’
  • An innovative, low-cost service option which models best practice in user involvement
  • A service option delivered by volunteers, supported by health professionals
  • Demonstration of partnership working between people with aphasia and service providers Building a network of people with aphasia who can help with other stroke related service delivery evaluations
  • Additional support and continuity at times of transition along the stroke pathway

This partnership demonstrates the excellent teamwork and combined contribution of volunteers, clinical teams and a charity working together to achieve significant success.

The Volunteer Aphasia Befriending Scheme within SCFT was set up in 2009 to ensure continuity of support once intense rehabilitation had ended. It is an opportunity for people with stroke and aphasia to provide peer support and friendship for others who also have aphasia. There are approximately 10 volunteer befrienders currently and they do amazing work inspiring and motivating those who are in the earlier stages of recovery.

On the back of this incredible scheme the Say Aphasia charity was born and set up in 2014 by one of the befrienders Colin Lyall; to evolve the support into drop-in groups across Sussex. These drop-in groups are now visited by SCFT clients and supported by SCFT

Speech and Language therapists.

Not only does Say Aphasia provide valuable meeting spaces for clients, but they have also supported SCFT Staff with service improvement projects, interviewing new staff and providing one off visits to new clients to demonstrate that there is support and hope for the future.

Say Aphasia is such an asset to the Trust and the volunteers are integral to supporting this initiative for many years to come.

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